“Every day it breaks our hearts that he’s not here”…these are the words of Det Garda Jerry McCabe’s daughter Stacey at a commemoration ceremony in Adare in 2016 to mark the 20th anniversary of her father’s killing.
That fateful morning of the 07 June 1996, Jerry and his partner Garda Detective Ben O’Sullivan bade farewell to their loved ones as usual as they went to work to the serve and protect the people of Limerick.
It was like any other work day. Jerry and Ben were escorting a truck delivering cash to post offices in County Limerick when they were ambushed.
Jerry was killed and Ben seriously injured.
The attack sent shockwaves around Limerick and the rest of the country - a horrific act that shocked us to our core.
It was affront against our democracy and our sense of decency. It shattered our idea of security, how could someone be gunned down just for doing their job.
But it wasn’t just that members of the Gardaí being attacked, these were men with families and young children. How their lives would be irrevocably changed!
They were members of our community, men who could be relied on to support events and help out when needed.
Twenty-five years on now and that same horror and revulsion remains with the people of Limerick. Many of us still remember that day and were stunned by the reports.
Our thoughts and best wishes are with Jerry’s widow Ann and her family, and Ben and his family. It is something they have had to live with and cope with daily.
It was a black day for An Garda Síochána for Limerick and Ireland, but I’m reminded of the words of Ben: “You’re never expected to forget something like that. You’re not supposed to forget that. You’re supposed to take up the gauntlet and accept that it happened; you cannot turn the clock backwards.”
We will always remember this terrible incident and will continue to work so there is no repeat.
To Jerry and Ben, recipients of the Freedom of Limerick, thank you.